The Witcher

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Hey folks, thanks for the feedback on my last review. I'm still trying to find my own written voice, and I'm working on getting the disjointedness out of my writing. Hopefully this one is a bit of an improvement :)

---

I was bored today and decided to pick up another RPG to keep me entertained. Browsing around the Internet I came across a bunch of reviews for The Witcher, which has been touted by IGN as a modern day Diablo. After reading several similar reviews, I was pretty excited to pick up this game. According to almost every review out there the game was deep, involving, and its only real flaws were the voice acting and the insane computer specs required to run it.

"Shit," I thought to myself, "I like good RPGs and my computer has some pretty decent specs. It's time to pick this bad boy up and waste a few hours of my life." And waste my time I did: this game is an anthrax-laced pile of goat shit.

To paraphrase Wikipedia: The Witcher is a game based on a series of novels of the same name. We follow the story of Geralt, a traveling monster hunter (called "Witchers" in this game) who has mutated into something with very unnatural powers. The story takes place in a typical medieval fantasy world - with lots of brown castles, mud, and deteriorating wood huts - and the game implements very detailed visuals.

Geralt is a renowned Witcher who suffers from amnesia and through the course of the game gradually learns all of the spells, tricks, attacks, and other shit that he used to know. That's pretty much all I can tell you about the story because I refuse to continue playing this game: it's laced with so many problems that it's impossible to play.

I don't like picking on software for having bugs as it's generally expected that things are going to be flawed in this complicated world, but there are apparently three outstanding bugs in this game:

1 - Under Windows Vista 64-Bit the screen will freeze, but the audio and game will continue. A quick ALT+TAB will clear this graphical problem right up, but we all know how horrible Windows is at handling a context switch of that magnitude.

2 - The game doesn't like itself and randomly commits suicide at the most annoying times - mostly in the middle of a fucking cut scene that would help tie the story together, or right after you load a saved game.

3 - I have a Quad-Core, 4GB RAM, nVidia 8800 Ultra SLI setup. Why can I not run this game with all of the effects enabled? To top that off, after turning everything down to the "low" setting and reducing the resolution to 1024x768, why the fuck does the game still drop frames?

Bugs aside, the game has some other serious issues, not the least of which is the damned camera system. Here's the problem: the game presents you with a choice between a totally mouse-driven experience and a keyboard-mouse combo experience. Being the fatass WSAD gamer that I am, I chose the latter. The problem comes from the camera angle: you either select two terribly confusing isometric views, or you select the "over the shoulder" view, where the mouse acts like an FPS game and controls the plays POV.

The problem is that this is not a first-person game. After years of playing The Elder Scrolls, and every other PC RPG, I'm used having a mouse cursor available at all times and doing a click-drag to move the camera. I understand this is just nitpicky shit, but if every other RPG out there can follow this same convention, why can't The Witcher?

Camera issues aside, the combat system is about as exciting as watching Rosanne Barr give a lap dance to Tony Soprano: it's an awkward, clunky, clusterfuck. For some reason my character likes to flip around on the screen when all I really wanted was for him to move forward and attack the bad guy. Also, the game relies - heavily - on a timing based combo system: you have to click the mouse button at the right time to do any real damage to anything. And while, at first, this seems to have some promise - such as being able to create your own combos via several different moves to inflict major damage - the developers never follow through on this, which forces you to just wait until your sword icon turns into a flaming sword icon so you can progress through the game.

While we're on the subject of combat: who the hell thought the multiple combat stances would be fun? The game forces you to switch between multiple fighting stances in order to inflict damage, and each stance works best against a narrow spectrum of opponents. A heavily armored opponent requires the heavy stance, while a quick opponent needs the speed stance activated. There's also a group stance that you can use, but the only time I used it was at the beginning of the game - because the enemies wouldn't take damage otherwise - and then forgot about it. Another thing that bothers me: why the hell doesn't this guy change fighting stances automatically? I realize he's an emotionless lobotomy patient (more on that in a second) but the guy's a friggin' badass: he should at least be able to figure out how the hell to hurt his opponent on his own.

A lot of reviews - I'm looking at you, IGN >:( - say that this game dives deep into mature content, like sex and rape - but the game never really touches on these topics and instead skids by and only mentions them by name; for example, in the first hour of the game you get to knock up some chick, and later on you get to decide if you're going to rape a little girl. "Diving deep" into mature topics involves more than just a simple yes/no selection; it involves discussion and understanding of a topic. Of course, given the confusing dialog, I'm not sure I want this game to "dive deep" into sensitive subjects.

The game also loves to announce the fact that it has multiple choices for the player to make, and while the game itself does provide you with ample choices, it's too damn predictable how other characters will react to you. By the end of the game you've got a pretty good idea how things are going to turn out, and you end up as uber-evil or uber-good.

One of my major gripes is the horrible voice acting and the patchwork way its woven into the game; for example, there are times you'll speak with someone and, for no apparent reason, their line of dialog will have a lot of background noise in it, be presented at a different pitch, and sometimes be presented by a different voice actor altogether! It's bad enough that the story is a disjointed mess, but the voice acting only serves to help confuse the player.

Speaking of confusing: this story makes no goddamn sense. Look, I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for a few hours, that's not a problem at all, but when an entire conversation consists of:

"Are you alright?"
"Nothing. Let's blow it."

I'm left wondering two things: what in the fuck just happened and what am I supposed to do now?

The real problem here is that the entire first half of the game is nothing but disjointed conversations about shit I don't understand, and the second half of the game is nothing but disjointed conversations about shit I don't care about. By the time I got to my second town I couldn't complete the game because I was too busy killing people for not making any goddamn sense.

There's also an alchemy system which, unlike the dialog and story, is somewhat helpful; but, for all intents and purposes it's practically worthless: all of the potions you're going to need in the game are given to you as main quests, and anything useful is already listed in the manual. The game encourages you to experiment with all sorts of different ingredients to get different effects, but the best I could ever do was a super-strong poison that would kill me in three seconds, and something else that made me move slow, made the screen all fuzzy, and added some weird looking blue circle things floating around my character - but it did nothing to my statistics.

Overall this game is just bad. Aside from the constant crashing, it's plagued by poor voiceovers, a terrible story, stupid single-button mashing combat, a worthless alchemy system, a terrible camera, and it's just downright confusing at times. I can't say it enough: Don't touch it.

good review

its a shame, i thought i would have liked this game.

thats not true the witcher is a good game and one of the most underrated game of 2007

From a purely written standpoint, did you beat the game or not?

You say that you never got past the second town before you gave up, and yet you also say the ending is a dissapointment. Also you say you purchased the game today, and yet every review and article on The Witcher so far indicates it's easily a 40-50 hours plus game to beat, so you couldnt have actually beaten it if you bought it today.

You love to criticize the game, that much is obvious. But this is a highly reviewed game getting around 80% averages. Why is your review so massively different than every other review out there? No offence meant, but it seems like you're trying to play the "I'm so edgy" card by hating the game when you never actually gave it a fair chance.

That said your writting is well done, it's just everything else that seems... off.

My biggest problem that I couldn't escape was writing in the present (hence the little story at the beginning). I also wanted to get across the point of how painful this game can be, in my eyes.

Thanks for pointing out the conflict between the imagery and the facts, I hadn't noticed that on the second read-through.

For the record, I made it to chapter IV. By that time my eyes had fallen out of my skull from the story and I stopped paying attention to the characters and was only doing what my journal told me to do.

As much as I like to read different point of views there is a great diffrence between one and not knowing what one is talking about. You my friend clearly fall into the second category. Apart from the fact that the game recieved good or very good reviews being criticized mainly for the problems with load times and minot glitches in scripting, it has one of the best stories so far in cRPG. It is not another fantasy fairy tale but a game that finally dfocuses on more grim and adult themes and choices. The ending (that you haven't reached yet comented on) is not 'uber evil or uber-good'. First of all You need to consider the fact that there are three different modes to ending (good, evil, neutral) it also includes results of different choices you made during the game (including those from the very start of it).
Next time you decide to make a 'review' care to finish the game and get clue about it.

After finally getting this game to work I found I really liked it. I still have a few problems with it though:

- Loading times. You need to do a lot of running all over the place, in and out of buildings for even the smallest of quests. And every time you exit a building into the city you have to wait for 15-20 seconds (or more) for the damn place to load. EVERY TIME!
- The combat is boring. Game creators seem to have just picked up DDR and decided that timed button pressing is what all the kids wants. In this case though it just means you target an enemy and click the mouse once every 2-3 seconds until it's dead. There's no reason to change targets, there's really no reason to use anything except the group style (except against single powerful enemies, but those are rare and usually have friends anyways) and any tactical choices are made before the battle anyways.
- They flew too high and got burned by the voice talent. Gerald is supposed to be this macho swordmaster don juan, but he sounds more like he has a cold and a hangover. A tip for future productions is that the people responsible for hiring voice actors actually read the script before they decide.

What makes up for it though, in my opinion, is that the world is a filthy, rotten place. But not because it's assailed by some ultimate evil, but because people in general are douchebags. It doesn't matter who you decide to support, it won't end well unless you mediate. I like that idea far better over the usual Bioware style, where you're either good or evil and very little in between.

I'm surprised Yathzee hasn't reviewed this game ~~

"1 - Under Windows Vista 64-Bit the screen will freeze, but the audio and game will continue. A quick ALT+TAB will clear this graphical problem right up, but we all know how horrible Windows is at handling a context switch of that magnitude.

2 - The game doesn't like itself and randomly commits suicide at the most annoying times - mostly in the middle of a fucking cut scene that would help tie the story together, or right after you load a saved game.

3 - I have a Quad-Core, 4GB RAM, nVidia 8800 Ultra SLI setup. Why can I not run this game with all of the effects enabled? To top that off, after turning everything down to the "low" setting and reducing the resolution to 1024x768, why the fuck does the game still drop frames?"

The problems here are, by and large, Vista, Vista, and, yes, Vista. Like any number of other games, The Witcher is affected by that bizarre Vista stuttering bug that the MS Hotfix does nothing to fix. On a quad core, 2 gig ram, 8800 gts 640 the game is, for me, almost unplayable on Vista. On XP, I run all settings high, 4 x AA, 16 x AF, at 1680 x 1050. The swamp causes some slow down, but nothing crippling.

I was under the impression that the Elder Scrolls had a crosshair rather than an on-screen cursor?

Yes, the voice acting isn't always of the highest order, and the story is confusing at times - I put this down to translation myself. I don't find it a deal breaker, but mileage may vary I guess.

Personally (and I haven't finished the game yet) I find the choices you have to make the antithesis of cut and dried, black and white moral decisions. Plenty of times I've agonised over what I'm going to do, just because it isn't immediately obvious what the consequences will be. That in itself is enough to make it a winner in my mind.

Not a perfect game by any means, but an interesting and unusual take on the genre, with a compelling setting and sometimes engrossing story.

P.S. For those struggling with the load / save times, the 1.2 patch gives HUGE improvements in that area, and doesn't invalidate your saves.

Dectilon:
- Loading times

Those are supposed to be adressed in the coming patch... atill waiting for the damned thing :/

Dectilon:
- The combat is boring.

I found it way more enjoyable then the simple 'click-your-mouse-to-death' approach I encountered in Oblivion. The fact that you need to properly time your strikes and can smoothly change between the targets really works better for me than just clicking on the target. Other than that the sequences look absolutely awesome. Also try playing on the highest difficulty - then there is no 'flame' indicator and you need to time your attack by the sound the sword makes and the animation of the attack.
As for tactics in game being decided before the fight - that is the way the witchers work. It can be seen in the intro, it can be read in the novels.

Dectilon:
- They flew too high and got burned by the voice talent.[/quote
That is actually Atari, not the creators who screwed it up. The original version has great voices and acting. As for the English version I heard it was badly done, but the creator afaik had not much to do about it :(
[quote=Dectilon]I like that idea far better over the usual Bioware style, where you're either good or evil and very little in between.

Quoted for truth :)

Graffis, I'm sorry man, but I completely disagree. The choices in this game are blatant: kill/don't kill. Sex/No sex. Rape/Don't rape. This game, at least the English version, doesn't dive into adult content - it tacks it in as an afterthought.

The most "mature" thing this game does is let you knock up a few easy chicks, and it only takes two lines of dialog to knock up every single chick in the game - getting someone to like you was more complicated in Fable.

Taking on a subject from a mature, adult point of view means explaining your decisions, or having them explained to you. A simple selection between good/evil isn't tackling an adult subject - it's tacking it on so the 14 year olds can get easy wood.

When something advertises itself as having choice and actually tackling things from an adult POV I was expecting being able to turn my character into a sick motherfucker, with the storyline taking the appropriate mindfuckery to compensate for the characters apparent mental disorder. What I got, instead, was a bland combination of point and click adventure gaming mixed in with the occasional Dialbo-like point and click killing spree.

Also, I found the "wait until just the right time to kill something" flame-icon combat to be tedious and repetitive. I realize I could play the game on hard mode, but it's still the "waitfortherightmomentitscomingsooncomeonclickthemousebuttonohyoumissedtherightmooment" action sequences; but, I'll admit, that's a personal thing - I didn't like Diablo, and the action sequences in The Witcher are basically that.

This game looks beautiful (OK, I'll admit, many of my problems are probably vista related. I'll have to get this game installed on my XP partition and give it a go). The kills look cool, but they can get annoying, especially when other monsters are there pounding you on the back of your head while you do your little sword-twirly-backflip-thingy. Still, that's just a nitpick, and I don't really care one way or another about it.

Finally, I've played through, roughly, 3/4 of the game (the game can take upwards of 50 hours to complete, and I'm on hour 30-something). I think I know how this is all going to end for my character, but to be honest I don't care anymore. Someone - and I don't care who it was - fucked this game up by using horrible voice acting with a script that feels like it was hacked apart at the last minute. If the first 3/4 of the game is broken for me, then why in the world would I bother with the other 1/4? Integrity?

But, hey, we're all allowed to disagree :)

Dectilon, I agree with you on one point: the game world is a filthy place because of the humans in it - and it's explained pretty decently. I think it's this aspect of the game that reviewers are throwing praises at it for - and I can see the long-term affects of gaming because of it - but I just find so many different aspects of the game unlikeable that the story (from what I could parse) just doesn't do anything for me.

It's an ambitious project, to be sure, but the referee shot the gun to start the race and the bullet lodged itself directly in the runners forehead.

But, just because I didn't like it doesn't me you shouldn't like it. I'm just a self-important jackass writing mostly meaningless words.

Firstly, good review. I haven't personally played The Witcher, but your review does seem to be concise and with depth.
Secondly, to people who say "It got 81 on Metacritic so it must be good!", so what?
Having a high score doesn't make a game good (see Halo 3). Among those who rated it positively were the highly reliable* PC Gamer at 91, while the much less reliable* PC Gamer UK gave it a 69.
Hell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer got an average score of 79 on Metacritic!
The fact The Witcher seems to have received such great reviews is because it arrived during an RPG dry season, with little-to-no competition.

*Sarcasm, for the less deductive

Good review, thanks. I prefer reviews that mention all the things that are annoying, because in 90% of the official gamereviews these are barely even mentioned with a 7 or above as number slapped on.

Here was my experience with the Witcher, in convenient stream-of-consciousness:

Wow, this music's pretty great. Hey, wow, pretty! These graphics aren't shabby. Voice acting's good... combat's okay, if not a little boring. Maybe that will change. Wait a second, what are they talking about? Do people talk like that? I don't think people talk like that. I've heard people talk. I'm pretty sure I've never heard anyone talk like that. You know, whatever, a shabby translation I can deal with. (an hour later) My God, I don't even want to TALK to anyone. Conversations don't make any sense, and the voice actors (who are indeed pretty good) take it all in stride, making it even WORSE, emphatically delivering lines like "Our beautiful sorceress babe" with the utmost sincerity.

Partially because I had other games I could go play, and partially because I find it hard to play an RPG in which I don't want to talk to anyone, I had to stop. Which is unfortunate, because most everything else seemed pretty great.

"I found it way more enjoyable then the simple 'click-your-mouse-to-death' approach I encountered in Oblivion."

Who said I prefer Oblivion? ;) Give me Die by the Sword 2!!!

"The fact that you need to properly time your strikes and can smoothly change between the targets really works better for me than just clicking on the target. Other than that the sequences look absolutely awesome. Also try playing on the highest difficulty - then there is no 'flame' indicator and you need to time your attack by the sound the sword makes and the animation of the attack."

I take it a step further: I don't even watch the screen when fighting! Sure, you have to re-learn the timing when you upgrade a style, but that takes about 3 tries. : )

This game made me drop my WoW subscription, so regardless of y'all opinions, it's GOTY for me simply due to this!

"Those are supposed to be adressed in the coming patch... atill waiting for the damned thing :/"

Adressed, sure, but I think we both know that means they will be lowered with a maximum och 15% : P

It is an interesting review LordKat but flawed in many respects.

You deride the combat as being simplistic in one breath with largely useless combat stances yet in the next argue for simplifying the combat even further by wanting Geralt to change combat stance himself as he feels the need. So which is it that you want? Simpler combat with even less involvement or more?

While we are on the subject of combat the fact that you describe alchemy as pointless, have a flaming sword icon and regard the various stances as useless tells me you are playing the game on easy or normal - most likely easy. Oddly enough in the description of the difficulty level for Easy they tell you explicitly that alchemy is not needed really, so it seems an odd thing to fault the game for having optional alchemy when you deliberately picked the mode which makes it so. My experience with playing through on Normal is that alchemy is extremely useful to almost necessary, pretty much as the game tells you when selecting the difficulty level. Also on Normal the choice of combat stance is much more important as enemies are tougher and combat lasts longer, knowing when to use Group stance and then switching to the appropriate Fast or Strong style to pick off critical foes is important and it serves to make the combat much more fun.

That you need to manage your stances in combat is a good reason why auto-switching them would be a horrible game design decision. Occasionally you need to ignore the group to nut someone like the mage who is spamming spells at you before dealing with his bloodthirsty band of hired blades. Having the game auto-switch to group mode when you are trying to deal with a specific enemy in the group first would be frustrating and downright deadly on the higher difficulty levels.

Finally you say the game has no mature choices in it really. Odd, in just the starting area (Outskirts) alone I have had to choose :-

-between saving a Witch or letting the village lynch mob get her when both sides have been doing seriously questionable things.
-side with or deny Elves some food & supplies that they claim they need for their starving and wounded. Of course they do but they also use the food to cause trouble further down the line...
-Find that a choice I made back in the prologue forces me to face a colleague again who suffered as a consequence of that choice. Sometimes you have to kill them again.

These aren't simple good/evil choices. They are firmly grey with both sides usually having done something themselves to bring them into conflict. The Scoia'tel clearly have a legitimate grievance with the humans over the way the non-humans have been treated, but their tactics are amongst the most reprehensible in the game. Not that the Order of the Flaming Rose is any better - they claim to be upright and virtuous but they have strong bigot tendancies and don't need much encouragement to engage in another pogrom unjustly killing or dislocating non-humans near them. This is what is meant by more mature choices being made in the game - the whole game design is shades of grey rather than the simpler and morally absolutist affairs that Bioware typically presents. As the end game has three general conclusions and they don't fall into good or evil. You can side with the Scoia'tel, the Order of the Flaming Rose or a third Neutral path in which you reject both sides of the conflict.

It seems like Corvus you simply react badly to the game but are a little conflicted in the reasoning as to why. In Corvus case it is because he dislikes the 'mysogyny' in the game. In your case it seems that you want RPGs to fit a fairly specific formula of control style, camera angle and hand holding that the Witcher doesn't.

Nice assessment. thanks for helping me become a better writer.

Good review, I've heard mixed things about it meself.

And Yahtzee just tore it to shreds, so you're not the only disgruntled gamer out there...

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Good review, I've heard mixed things about it meself.

And Yahtzee just tore it to shreds, so you're not the only disgruntled gamer out there...

Yahtzee tearing an RPG to shreds... there's a surprise!

gaiafires:
Furthermore if you are playing AS Geralt, OBVIOUSLY you would have to pick the fighting stances in game because YOU are Geralt and the computer isnt going to do it for you.

There is a certain line where realism for the sake of immersion gets in the way of gameplay.

Wow, I'm really not sure what game you guys played but the witcher I played was well written and thought out. The world of the witcher is a very dark gloomy place, why even the king of the main town "plowed" his sister... but none of this is rivaled at the start, you have to get below the level that the people in the game put up to make everything look good. Even the main force behind the war in the game is racism ageist non-humans(dwarves and elves). The story is well thought out and the voice acting is good, by no means is it amazing but it puts any JRPG you can name to shame. Many of the witcher's voice acting problems as you said stem from voices with different pitches and tones and occasionally delivered by a different actor, but its forgivable in my book after sitting through many hours of FF and kingdom heart's voice acting and hearing the always out of place "huh?" in response to action occurring or statement delivered by another character. FF is known for line delivered that really make me cringe.... yeah A LOT must be lost in translation because if someone spoke that awkward to me I'd be forced to flee the scene :P.

As other have said you reviewed on a 64bit vista system, as soon as you said that I rolled my eyes knowing you were going to cite all these bug... Well mr. vista user welcome to the world of first adopters. My only problem with anything on the programing side was the game had long load times (epically bothers me when I am kicked out of an old lady's house for saying something wrong, when I need to talk to another character in the house) but the newest patch addresses the load times. In a way I also didn't mind the load times that much personally, every time their was a load time I was hit with amazing concept art work of the area I was entering... and some of them blew me away, I would easily hand any one of the concept images on my wall framed.

You also said that the game not being in first person was a problem, I strongly disagree, while oblivion was first person the combat was the worst I've seen in a long time, I could win any fight with anyone by moving in swinging once then backing up. While the witcher has some combat flaws I found the stances to be rather interesting, the strong stance would deliver a lot of damage but sometime it could of been avoided by fast fighters, the fast stance delivered faster damager but could be blocked by heavy fighters, and the group combat could deliver somewhere in between or even more then the other two stances but only is really effective when fighting more then 3 enemies at once.

Now I'm not saying the witcher is perfect but their is a really solid game under the surface that I'm sure any rpg buff with an attention buff more then a 6 year old would love and hold in high praise. The problems with the game however are blaring... for one you lost your memorie, why this means you don't know where the head on a dog like creature is even after killing and looting the creature is beyond me. Also every Garelt seems to be wearing axe body spray, I often found the conversation turning to sex on a whim. One that really stood out was a female commander of the flaming rose, the conversation went from how garelt never hurts weamen to her challenging him to a fist fight to doing the nasty. Or an elf who you try to give food to who rejects it and preaches about vile humans trying to save what they have destroyed to the horizontal monster mash (its literately that confusing).

I had a major problem with the weapons as well, I had my human sword (steel) and my monster sword (silver) but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the other sword spot was for... backup? The swords never break or become unusable I actually used it to make more money by picking up enemies swords and selling them. Also they had a spot just for non-sword weapons (hammers and such) well my torch went their and stayed (yes you need to light the torch in dark places) because every other weapon that went in that spot was as useful as a nerf bat.

One of the biggest problems was the inventory, system I never had enough room for all my loot and almost always filled up before I got to far into a place with nice drops this left me with the "to drop or not to drop" question a number of times. Future more why can't I put any weapons into my bags to sell them later? I can basically go native American on monsters and take them for all their worth but I can't take the sword off the body and put it into my bag?

All in all the bad things about the witcher is like your supermodel girlfriend wearing cloths, its whats underneath that matters to me. I highly recommend the game to any RPG fans who (like me) are tired of wading threw carbon copies of crayon colored JRPGS and just want to dive into a world full of rich lore in depth character/story development in a dark middle ages type world.

An 8 out of 10.

Why are some of you people making comparison's between this and BioWare games. This game is not made by BioWare.

Good review, I used it to make my decision on whether or not to buy it. Between this and Yahtzee realizing it's a single player MMORPG I'm pretty much avoiding it.

You decided between a Basherofallgames and a clearly failing review if you're going to buy it? Right. I do like Yahtzee's reviews but they're pretty much just bashing everything. Funny and all but don't decide if you're gonna buy a game on them.

I'd say Annom and banksie is pretty much spot on.

Hm, not sure what to think here. On the one hand, I am extremely harsh and critical of... just about any game, and the only game in recent memory I don't really have anything terrible to say about is Mass Effect... on the other hand, I would never write a review unless I had either played through a game, or had come to the informed conclusion that it was so atrocious that nobody in their right mind (not even people with terrible taste) would want to do so.

It feels to me like you've jumped the gun here, LordKaT, by reviewing a game you have only played (or so I gather) the beginning of, and that, as well as the review itself, makes me think you are just venting frustration and soothing buyer's remorse under the guise of writing a review (before any accusations of hypocrisy... I had disclaimers in my own reviews warning about possible ranting, yet still maintained some semblance of objectivity). The result is more of a rant than a review. Given the tone this review has, it's very hard to take it seriously... but it's clearly not meant to be funny, either, so where does that leave us? Right back at square one... nobody will gain much of anything by reading this.

I do love to see reviews that give dissenting opinions, but this is more of an opinion (an emotionally overcharged one, even) which you are trying to pass off as a review. If you want to just rant like this, don't call it a review, because this will not help any but the most impressionable and simple-minded of gamers decide whether or not they should buy this game.

While the review picks on some of the flaws of The Witcher, I feel it was a bit unjustified. Expanding on what banksie said this is my 2 cents.

The Good Parts:
- Excellent story. While the conversation is mediocre, if you manage to catch the drift of the story as it is (should be) you will probably share my opinion. A lot of the options along the way leads to grey areas of choice instead of good/bad choices. The first part with the witch vs lynch mob was actually a bit of a puzzle, because the game DOESN'T OFFER YOU ANY RIGHT OPTION. And I love it! The ethics and moral of the game is left to you as you watch them burn her down or defend her knowing she's done Very Bad Things too.
- Beautiful graphics. I run the game on a semi-brand new laptop with a GeForce 8600M 512 MB card on Windows XP, and I had most settings on high and all settings look beatiful and detailed. And unlike in Oblivion, faces actually look like faces.
- Proper difficulty settings. If you pick easy, it will be walk-in-the-park easy, but normal is actually a bit of a challenge (I died twice in the wolf-encounter after the lynch mob/witch thing) and I can imagine hard to actually be... hard. If you obsess about the alchemy being neglecible, READ THE DAMN DIFFICULTY DESCRIPTIONS. I found Alchemy to be most useful, if rather tedious, on normal.

The Bad Parts:
- Quests. As Yahtzee said, "This is a mmorpuger" and while it isn't exactly true, it does borrow on some MMORPG elements. In a story-line that is mostly linear (to the point I played), do I really need to have 12 active quests at the same time? Most of them overlap in one way or another and it only adds to the confusion of finding out what your goals and tasks are.
- Camera vs Combat. I don't mind the camera particularly, but I had a lot of times where the camera would make me hit a wrong opponent, so instead of smashing one opponent to death, Geralt would be dancing ballet, spinning around like mad, which in turn led to some serious pain. A more general outline of the target in question as well as a more steady camera would have been nice, but in the overall scheme I guess it is forgiveable.

The main problem with The Witcher though is that it feels like a MMORPG, without the benefit of socialism and cool show-off gear. A lot of the quests are "run there, do this, run back" and some of them seems to be simply time fillers. The story makes up for it a lot of the way, but when the story acts as "good bits" inbetween a lot of indifferent bits, it just odesn't work. In the end, this was the deciding factor for not playing The Witcher through - despite it's good and bad sides, I was a BORED.

Thanks for the opinions guys :)

I've been trying to find the right balance between actual review and my New York attitude. I'm pretty good with videos, though it doesn't come across so well in writing.

Appreciate the feedback.

LordKaT:
Thanks for the opinions guys :)

I've been trying to find the right balance between actual review and my New York attitude. I'm pretty good with videos, though it doesn't come across so well in writing.

Appreciate the feedback.

I think maybe you oughta try that medium, then... let's see that attitude, because it doesn't show very well through text. Were this a video review, it may well have come across more the way you seem to have intended it.

Anyway, sorry if I came off a bit strong, I'm not very good being subtle with my words. Glad to see you take criticism gracefully. :)

ComradeJim270:
Glad to see you take criticism gracefully. :)

Direct criticism is the best criticism. Saying "you suck" is great, so long as you explain why, but saying "it's ok, but" really pisses me off to no end because then I don't understand where exactly I'm screwing up.

I had thought about trying a video review, but around here I'd just end up being compared to Ben, endlessly.

LordKaT:

ComradeJim270:
Glad to see you take criticism gracefully. :)

Direct criticism is the best criticism. Saying "you suck" is great, so long as you explain why, but saying "it's ok, but" really pisses me off to no end because then I don't understand where exactly I'm screwing up.

I had thought about trying a video review, but around here I'd just end up being compared to Ben, endlessly.

Agreed on the first point, but not neccesarily the second one. Being compared to Yahtzee would be a given, I suppose, but that's not neccesarily a bad thing. If you have your own distinctive style, I wouldn't worry about it.

New York attitude? I thought you guys were very nice when I was there ^^

You didn't do much driving in downtown Manhattan, did you? ;)

@The MADMAN, Graffis, and your ilk..

I don't understand this argument that you're only allowed to review, criticize, or even comment on a game unless you have competed it. Where did this rule come from and who started it? If a game sucks how long is a fair go? 1 Hour? 2 hours 15minutes? I think this is a bogus and simplistic straw man argument to dismiss unpopular views. IF a movie sucks do I need to sit through the entire fiasco to realize it sucks? NO! If a meal sucks do I need to finish it in order to realize it taste bad? NO! So do me a favor if you disagree with a reviewer please stop telling them that they don't know what they are talking about based on the simple fact that they failed to finish it. If the game truly sucks I would hate for the review to have to sit through it just to sound more credible. And no I don't have to "give it a chance" because if it sucks, it sucks!! I shouldn't even have to taste it if I can already smell that the popcorn is burnt from a mile away.

Whether its movies, games, food, its all a degree of taste, my advice it to calibrate your taste with a reviewer. Shop around and look at past games the reviewer played. If you agree with them 90-95% of the time, then there is a good chance if the reviewer likes it then you're going to like it. It's not 100% but your defiantly not gambling your hard earned $$$ on a dog of a game. I did that with Yahtzee. I gave him a chance and we agree almost 95% of the time. I even went back and player a few of his more critical games and found myself agreeing with some of the same lame reviews he gave. This doesn't mean that Yahtzee's is the best review on the Interwebs, it simply means our taste in games are calibrated.

Still that remaining 5% but honestly it is more like arguing whether you prefer your filet mignon with salt or pepper! That we differ on some games (I loved Super Mario Galaxy even though I knew it was just a blatant rip off of Psychonauts) but I feel it's insignificant enough to matter because enjoyment is enjoyment in any form.

BTW - I prefer pepper!!

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here